Poor old Linz. Eugenie Bouchard was the latest name to pull out of the tournament leaving just one seed, Karolina Pliskova left in the tournament. It’s an unfortunate, but unsurprising turn of events with attention turning to the YEC in Singapore for the likes of Genie and Ana. Moscow is also going to suffer next week with Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic all out and Caroline Wozniacki set to join the list of casualties. While Linz’s draw is decimated, Osaka looks great with bundles of talent on show. Here’s a detailed look at the match-up between Zarina Diyas and Ana Konjuh…
1. Zarina Diyas v Ana Konjuh (Osaka, QF)
The quarter-finals of Osaka are full of fresh WTA talent with all the players except Sam Stosur aged between 16 and 21 years old. The most intriguing of those four matches will see the 16-year-old, Ana Konjuh take on the 21-year-old, Zarina Diyas. Konjuh is likely to break the world’s top 100 after reaching the quarters in Osaka. Konjuh has made a name for herself, yet she has only played in four main draw WTA events. In her first ever WTA tournament at the start of the year in Auckland, Konjuh knocked out the number one seed, Roberta Vinci. The young Croatian player was then forced to undergo elbow surgery, which kept her out of action until May. Konjuh’s two best results have come since, at Wimbledon and Istanbul. Konjuh came through qualifying and won a total of five matches at Wimbledon, eventually losing to Caroline Wozniacki. She also qualified in Istanbul and then won three main draw matches, beating three players inside the top 100.
Konjuh is a very promising talent; she has a big game, which at this moment in time, is still relatively unpolished. However she has done a great job in peaking at the higher profile tournaments she has competed in. Like Bencic, i’m getting the feeling that she’s got it. Konjuh had lost in the first round of her last three tournaments, all to players outside of the top 150. However, in the main draw of Osaka, Konjuh has beaten two more top 100 players in Zheng Jie and Coco Vandeweghe. In the first round, Zheng served for the match before Konjuh staged a very impressive comeback to win, 4-6 7-5 6-2.
Konjuh’s quarter-final opponent is Zarina Diyas, who has had a superb year on the WTA tour, cracking the top 40 by virtue of some excellent performances at the Grand Slams. Seeded number five in Osaka, Diyas has recorded two solid wins over Chan Yung-Jan (7-6(3) 6-1) and Lara Arruabarrena (6-0 6-1). The pair have, unsurprisingly, never played before on the WTA tour. Diyas has a little more experience, but Konjuh is already proving to be a very tricky customer. The match is likely to be on Konjuh’s racquet. She has the weapons to win this, but equally, the inconsistency to lose this. I’m intrigued to see how this one plays out.
Prediction: Diyas d. Konjuh in 3 sets
WTA Linz Quarter-Final Predictions
Tsvetana Pironkova d. Karin Knapp in 3 sets
Camila Giorgi d. Marina Erakovic in 3 sets
Anna-Lena Friedsam d. Stefanie Voegele in 2 tight sets
Karolina Pliskova d. Madison Brengle in 2 sets
WTA Osaka Quarter-Final Predictions
Madison Keys d. Luksika Kumkhum in 2 sets
Elina Svitolina d. Lauren Davis in 2 sets
Sam Stosur d. Yulia Putintseva in 2 tight sets
WTA Tianjin Quarter-Final Predictions
Varvara Lepchenko d. Alison Riske in 3 sets
Sorana Cirstea d. Zheng Saisai in 2 sets
Belinda Bencic d. Hsieh Su-Wei in 2 sets
Peng Shuai d. Ajla Tomljanovic in 3 tight sets